New England

New England Political Leaders React to Kavanaugh Confirmation

As Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination was officially confirmed by Senate vote Saturday, politicians from across New England weighed in on the contentious nominee, whose polling numbers continued to drop in recent weeks amid multiple allegations of sexual assault.

"Over the past several weeks, so many Maine people – particularly women – have shared with me their stories about how they have been affected by this nomination fight," tweeted Maine Senator Angus King, an Independent. "All I can say to them today is that we cannot give up hope. The work is not over; it is just beginning."

Meanwhile, Republican Maine Senator Susan Collins became the center of much attention as she publicly purported to remain undecided until Friday, when she gave a lengthy floor speech spelling out why she would vote for Kavanaugh. Collins had been assumed, by some, to be a moderate who might break ranks with her party. But she said Friday she was satisfied with the findings of an FBI investigation into some of the allegations against Kavanaugh that was limited to a week in length.

Speaking to News Center Maine on Saturday, Collins said she had "met with so many Mainers that were sexual assault survivors," but that she "can not conclude, based on the evidence and the complete lack of corroboration that Brett Kavanaugh was [Blasey Ford's] assailant."

She also told the outlet: "I find it extraordinary that certain groups are now targeting me when I've been their advocate here in Washington for 22 years. My voting record clearly shows that."

Other New England senators disagreed.

"Today’s vote hurts people," tweeted Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. "It hurts every victim of sexual assault who’s been ignored, every woman who’s been told to be quiet, every person who’ll be on the losing end when Brett Kavanaugh casts a gut-punching deciding vote."

"Our fight has not been in vain," said Massachusetts senator Ed Markey, speaking at a rally in Washington, DC. "We will use our solidarity to lift up the stories of survivors, no matter how powerful the accused." 

"I am disappointed but not surprised by this vote," tweeted Vermont Senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, an Independent. "Unless I’m very mistaken, Kavanaugh will become part of a hard-right majority. I’m also deeply concerned that credible allegations of sexual assault were not fully investigated and the precedent that sets for the future."

Sanders' note about precedent was a notable push-back to Republicans who had worried aloud that Christine Blasey Ford's public allegations of sexual assault against Kavanaugh would set a precedent in which the accused might suffer undue career consequences. 

"Today is a sad day in the history of the #SCOTUS," tweeted Democratic Massachusetts representative Katherine Clark. She noted concerns outside of the sexual assault allegations. "During the nomination process, Judge #Kavanaugh demonstrated he does not have the necessary temperament, veracity, or impartiality to serve on our nation’s highest court."

Concerns were raised by some last week about Kavanaugh's ability to be impartial as a judge for future potential cases involving left-leaning groups when he described the sexual assault allegations during his Senate hearing as the result of "millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups."

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